The Israeli Army suffered its first fatality this year on Tuesday when a Palestinian stone thrower killed a soldier in the occupied West Bank, a day before U.S.-Israeli talks on annexation.The Army said the 21-year-old soldier was hit in the head “during operational activity” in the village of Yaabad near the northern city of Jenin.Palestinian security sources said that clashes erupted when Israeli forces raided the village. The unrest came a day before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due in Jerusalem for discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and incoming Defence Minister Benny Gantz. The meeting, a day before a new Israeli government is due to be sworn in, will focus partly on President Donald Trump’s controversial West Asia peace plan.Annexation plansThe plan, categorically rejected by the Palestinians, gives Israel the green light to annex Jewish settlements and strategic areas of of the West Bank. For much of the international community, such a move by Israel would amount to a grave violation of international law and crush hopes of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Under the terms of the new coalition agreements, West Bank annexation plans can be brought to Parliament or Cabinet from July 1.
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